Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Jeffree Star Blood Sugar Palette

Jeffree Star Cosmetics has released their third eyeshadow palette, Blood Sugar. 

And I won't be buying. 

I actually received a ton of requests to write about this palette, and I just wanted to thank those who reached out to me. I'd also like to encourage others to let me know of new products that you would be interested in having me discuss.

This is the third palette by Jeffree Star Cosmetics, and it is the first one that has a color scheme that I personally am drawn to. If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I have been crazy for pink, mauve, purple, and red shades for several months now, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

So you would think that when I saw Blood Sugar that I would totally fall for it, right? Well, not really.

Let's take a look at the palette:

Let's take this row by row. 

In row one, there is nothing new and exciting for me personally. In theory, I think this is a good row to have in a palette because there are plenty of neutral and transition shades, but I have every shadow in this row a few times over. 

Row two is slightly more interesting, but again, I have all of these shades. The most interesting shadows for me are the hot pink and the neon purple, but I have both of these shadows in the Sephora Pro Editorial palette. I have also the hot pink in the Urban Decay Electric palette and the neon purple with Colourpop 143.

Row three has the most unique shades overall, I guess, but there also appears to be quite a bit of repetition here. On the eyes, I don't feel like there will be much distinction between the various red and purple shades. 

Let's look at swatches:

Image credit: Trendmood1

I'd like to take a moment to talk swatches. I watched Jeffree Star's video where he announced and unveiled this palette, and I thought it was really odd that he only swatched a few colors and didn't provide swatches for the rest. He mentioned in the video that he doesn't like finger swatches and finds them to be a little pointless in terms of accurately displaying the quality of a shadow, and I agree with that, but then he proceeded to finger swatch a few of the colors and "ooh" and "aah" over them. 

As of right now, there are no "official" swatches of Blood Sugar on the Jeffree Star Cosmetics or Beautylish websites, and I have to say that I find that odd. Yes, swatches are incredibly manipulative (and we'll talk about the ones above in a moment), but they are also a necessary evil in a lot of ways so that people can get some idea of what the shadows are going to look like. For example, "Sweetener," which is the third shadow in the middle row, is the first color swatched in the photo above. In the pan, this looks to be a traditional gold shade, but swatched, it looks like a pinkish gold. 

I'm not going to speculate as to why Jeffree Star Cosmetics did not provide swatches, I just wanted to point out that I personally find it odd. In terms of the swatches provided by Trendmood, it is pretty clear that the swatches were applied with a finger, were applied with a lot of pressure, and in some (or all) cases, were swatched multiple times. The most obvious multiple applications are the third and eighth swatches on the bottom row. This makes it difficult to gauge anything about how the shadows will perform, because the swatches are applied in a way that no one would actually wear them. 

Regardless, when I look at these swatches, I still come to the same conclusions about the colors. Swatches four through nine on the bottom row look incredibly similar to each other; I already have a hot pink and neon purple; and everything else is a neutral that I already have a few times over. 

The color scheme is nothing new. I am drawn to it, of course, because I really like these shades, but that doesn't mean I don't already have all those colors. In fact, I have them all in my two favorite palettes in my collection.

There's my duped Just Peachy Mattes:

And "duped" (loosely defined at this point) Desert Dusk:

These colors are also in Lime Crime Venus:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance:
And my duped/reimagined version of it:

Huda Beauty Rose Gold:

And Huda Beauty Mauve Obsessions:

And if the only shade that you don't already own is a matte red, consider picking up a single. Like Superpill Love Plus:

Or Make Up For Ever Tomato:

Let's talk price. Blood Sugar retails for $52 and contains 18 shadows. The pans of these shadows are considerably smaller than other pans by Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which, in my opinion, is a positive thing. However, Blood Sugar also has a $7 price increase from the brand's other palettes that contained 10 shades with large pans. Shipping from Jeffree Star Cosmetics seems to be around $6 for domestic orders, and it doesn't appear that there is ever an option for free shipping. So including tax, this palette is going to cost around $60. 

In terms of price, in some ways I think it's in line with similar products from other brands, but in other ways, I think it's overpriced. I personally would not pay upwards of $60 for this palette when I think of palettes like Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix and Saint and Sinner that had similar prices. I also find it to be a negative that Jeffree Star Cosmetics products are not sold in stores, so consumers aren't able to see it in person and try it out before purchasing. However, Jeffree Star Cosmetics does accept returns, unlike other online-only brands like Colourpop and Kylie Cosmetics. 

I think the main reason for the price increase, however, is the packaging:

Jeffree Star said that he wanted the case to look like a vintage doctor's bag:

I don't think this is necessarily the worst packaging, and I find it better than something like Urban Decay Heavy Metals or even anything by Natasha Denona, but I personally will always choose to have a less expensive product over extravagant packaging. 

I'm also personally not a huge fan of the theme of this palette and find it to be a bit muddled and confused. Typically this isn't something that I really care all that much about, but because the theme is the cause for the packaging and that is the reason for the price increase, I feel it is worth mentioning. Jeffree said he wanted it to have a "doctor/dentist" theme, which is why there are shade names like "Cavity", "O Positive", and "Root Canal." (Personally, like Jeffree, I have had a lot of dental work done, but because of that, I really hate the dentistry-related names). But what's odd is that there are also names like "Candy Floss," which is another name for cotton candy, "Cherry Soda," and "Cake Mix." I suppose I could suspend disbelief and think that those names relate because they cause cavities, but even then I think it's a stretch. 

Like I said, theming really isn't a huge thing for me normally, and I'm fine with my Viseart Dark Matte palette that doesn't have any names whatsoever, but if the theme and packaging are what's driving up the price, I feel like those things should be really well executed, which I don't think is true with Blood Sugar. 

Now, in a post about Jeffree Star Cosmetics, I feel it necessary to acknowledge his problematic behavior. I delved into this in my anti-haul post on his Androgyny palette, and I would encourage you to read that post if you don't know what I'm talking about. 

Since I wrote that post, Jeffree Star made a video addressing his past racist actions. From what I remember about the video, Jeffree says that the videos showcasing his racist words and actions 12 years ago do not represent the person he is now and that the past can never be erased. That I recall, he doesn't actually apologize. However, as I discussed (with screenshots) in the Androgyny post, he has relatively recently called women "rats" and threatened physical abuse toward them. Jeffree acknowledged in the same video that he reacts harshly to certain things and that he is working on not doing that. From the little that I have seen (I don't actively follow his social media), it seems like Jeffree has dialed back on lashing out with really upsetting and disgusting language. 

With all of that said, it's not up to me to decide if his "apology" should be accepted. I put apology in quotes because, although he did acknowledge his racist behavior and condemn it, he didn't actually apologize (that I remember). It's not up to anyone outside of the affected community to decide how the affected community should feel. I don't subscribe to Jeffree's channel, and I'm not going to buy Blood Sugar, and that is my personal choice. 

Bringing it back to this palette, I do think that it's pretty and certainly the one I like the most from this brand. But when I consider my makeup collection as a whole, upwards of $60 is way too much to pay for colors that I already have simply because they are in a special case that is bulky and not quite properly themed. This is a palette that I have no doubt that I could entirely dupe with what I already have in my collection, and for the exception of a few slightly unique shades, I would say most people could do the same. 

In terms of the formula, I will be transparent and say that I personally have never tried the Jeffree Star Cosmetics formula. I have read and watched dozens of reviews that conclude that the formula is fine, but nothing all that special or groundbreaking. I don't advocate for buying products and colors that you already own because you want to "try out the formula" as I find that just to be an excuse we tell ourselves to justify buying something new and hyped that we know we don't need. The Jeffree Star Cosmetics formula has never been hyped, so that's just one less thing to be tempted over.

I also think that Blood Sugar might fall into the same problems that Urban Decay Naked Heat faced, which is that despite having several colors, there won't be too many distinct looks that can be created with the color scheme. I'm assuming there will be a gold look, a pink look, and a red look, and everything else will be a variation of one of those three. That's certainly true of my duped Desert Dusk palette (pictured above), but I still completely love that palette because it is made up of so many of my favorite single shadows. 

And finally, it appears that Jeffree Star Cosmetics is using the false scarcity marketing tactic with this palette. This is something that many brands do, and is essentially how Kylie Cosmetics built their entire brand, but it's where the brand has a very small initial release so that it can sell out of stock almost instantly and create a false sense of scarcity, causing people to jump onto buying it because they don't want to miss out on what must be an incredible product because it sold out so quickly. Sure enough, Blood Sugar sold out shortly after its release, and now Jeffree Star Cosmetics is accepting pre-orders on the second launch. I understand that Jeffree Star Cosmetics has a rabid fan base, but there just really isn't anything all that special about this palette to justify the feeling of fear of missing out. On the eyes, this palette will look just like any of the palettes mentioned above, and you could achieve the same kind of looks by buying only a few single shadows. 

I certainly don't need any more palettes, especially when I own at least three already that dupe all of Blood Sugar. This is a color scheme that we have already seen a dozen times over, and it's even repeated throughout its own palette. I don't need any more of these shades, and I won't be buying. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat

Urban Decay has announced their latest Naked Basics palette, which is a mini mostly matte version of their Naked Heat palette: Naked Petite Heat. 

And I won't be buying. 

I'm excited to write this post and I feel like things could get a little feisty because this is, without doubt, the most jaw-dropping "we don't need this" eyeshadow palette release I have seen in some time. 

First, I would like to thank one of my readers for alerting me to this palette on Instagram. I would share their name, but their Instagram account is private, so I want to respect their privacy. I really love it when people tag me in posts about new product releases because sometimes I miss the unveiling of new releases. So, thank you.

Onto Naked Petite Heat. So, I'm confused here. This is obviously a Naked Basics palette:

But for some reason Urban Decay is not calling it that and not branding it in their Basics line. It's in the exact same packaging and has the same layout of five matte shades and one shimmer. Clearly Urban Decay is trying some rebranding and riding the coattails of their Naked Heat palette (my anti-haul post on that can be found here), but let's call this palette what it is: the warm-toned version of Naked Basics:

And if there is one thing that the makeup industry desperately needs, it's a warm-toned mostly matte palette. 

Sarcasm aside, what I don't understand is that Urban Decay has already given us this palette. And not just in Naked Heat:

(Which, by the way, despite the fact that the two palettes have different shade names, it seems pretty clear that the shades in Naked Petite Heat are the same as the mattes in Naked Heat, but we'll get to that in a bit.)

Urban Decay also already gave us that with the Naked Ultimate Basics palette:

Specifically, the first four shadows on the bottom row:

I suppose the reasoning behind not calling Petite Heat a "Basics" palette is that they already gave consumers the "Ultimate Basics" palette, so if they released another Basics palette it would somehow invalidate the claim that it was the "ultimate" palette?

I don't know; that's the best I can come up with. 

Let's look at swatches:

Do you know what I see when I look at these swatches? Literally every other warm-toned palette that has been released in the past two years. 

I literally laughed when I saw this palette because I just could not believe that after Urban Decay was already so late to the game with releasing Naked Heat that they would release yet another warm-toned palette when there's no one hurting for warm-toned neutrals. 

Let's look at the colors as pigments:

When you strip the shadows away from their packaging, I see three boring neutrals and three slightly less boring neutrals. The last three shadows would have been interesting a few years ago, but because of all the palettes that have been released since then, this is just more of the same now. 

So, let's look at all these other palettes, shall we?

There's the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye palette, of course:

Specifically the warm quad:

And speaking of Kat Von D quads, there's also the Shade and Light Eye Quad in Rust:

There's Viseart Neutral Matte:

Specifically this section:

Viseart Dark Matte:

Which offers a similar, but more interesting quad:

And Viseart Warm Matte:

There's also the Melt Rust Stack:

Coloured Raine Beauty Rust:

Dose of Colors Baked Browns:

And Sassy Siennas:

Huda Beauty Obsessions Warm Brown:

Morphe x Jaclyn Hill:

Specifically, this section:

At the drugstore, theres's one of my all-time favorite palettes, Milani Earthly Elements:

And, of course, there's Colourpop Yes, Please!:

Off the bat I'm going to say that I think Naked Petite Heat is overpriced and that you can get more and better for cheaper. Naked Petite Heat is $29 before tax and shipping. If you buy through Urban Decay, there is only free shipping on orders over $50, so Petite Heat alone wouldn't be enough to qualify. Shipping is also $8, which is steep, epically for something this small. If you include shipping, this palette now costs $37, and that's not including tax. For upwards of $40, I do not think Naked Petite Heat is worth it. I would instead recommend Colourpop Yes, Please! for $16 and $6 shipping. Yes, Please! offers all of the colors in Petite Heat plus several more interesting shades and textures. 

In my opinion, this release from Urban Decay is redundant and unnecessary. If you have any of the above palettes, you have Naked Petite Heat already. The only people who I can really see wanting this are those who want to complete their Naked Basics collections or who want to have both Naked Heat palettes. That's it. Because there are so many other options available at this point that you either have these colors if you want them or you don't want them. 

Typically, in a post about a product like this, I would talk about how this is bringing absolutely nothing new or innovative to the makeup community. I would also mention that it's a product that perpetuates the idea of continually buying what you already own because a different brand releases it, it is part of a serial line, or because the layout is slightly different from what you already own. 

And all of that remains true about Naked Petite Heat. In fact, it looks like Urban Decay went out of their way to rename all the shadows in this palette so that people who already own Naked Heat will buy these exact shadows again. Urban Decay is not the only brand to do that, but this is one of the more blatant examples of it that I've seen. 

But also, I'm personally at a point in my consumer journey where I am not yearning for a brand to come out with something that I haven't seen before. Because I just don't want any more. And frankly, I don't know if it's even possible for a brand to do that at this point since there are only so many colors and I own almost all of them. 

This is something I would like to talk about. For a while now I've had fatigue from all of the makeup products that are being released at rapid fire. And it's something that I'm starting to see other people talk about as well. People have mentioned that a new product is launching weekly, but it really seems like it's happening multiple times a week and maybe even daily. It's too much and no one can keep up with that, mentally or financially, unless they are a beauty influencer who needs daily content. The market is so oversaturated that I feel exhausted by all of it. It's no longer exciting for me, and I guess you could say that I have burnt myself out. 

And this palette is an excellent example of unnecessary consumerism. It's a color scheme that is so overdone that it's laughable and is literally a part of two existing Urban Decay palettes (both of which are permanent). This is so obviously just a lazy release from Urban Decay and one that they know will sell. It makes me appreciate brands like Kat Von D and Anastasia Beverly Hills more because they don't have a new eyeshadow palette released every month. When they do release a palette (I'm talking more Kat Von D here), it feels like it was done so with purpose rather than trying to capitalize on a current trend. 

I do believe that there are people who would love to have Naked Petite Heat. I'm sure they love to do really warm looks and they like the idea of how compact this palette is. Thing is, it really doesn't matter how compact something is unless you are the type of person to literally carry your makeup in your purse or if you travel a considerable amount. Otherwise, we both know that you already have all of these shades and you are just bored and wanting to try something new. 

For me, I'm tired of all of these releases, especially ones like Naked Petite Heat, which is recycling old colors and releasing a product simply for the sake of it. I don't need or want this palette, so I won't be buying. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How to Wear Colourpop Glass Bull

This is a different kind of post. Typically, this would be a "Weekend Looks" post, but for the first time in more than a year, I did the exact same look both days this weekend, which centered on Colourpop Glass Bull.

I mentioned in a post recently that Glass Bull and I were basically not getting along. It is one of Colourpop's bestselling shadows, and I have seen so many people rave about it. I bought it the day it released (before I saw swatches of it) because it sounded like an interesting shade and I wanted to have it. And since then I have been kicking myself for that decision because I just have never liked how it looked on me.

See, I like pigmentation. I'm not a huge fan of colors that require a ton of building, and I like my shadows to really stand out. Part of that is because I have deep set eyes, which means that they are close to being hooded. Therefore, I don't have a ton of visible lid space when my eyes are open. And I like my shadows to pack a pigmented punch on the lid. And Glass Bull is the opposite of pigmented.

Let's take a look at Glass Bull:

It's an interesting shade. The texture is not something that I personally have ever felt before, and it feels almost oily. The color is also unusual. It is an incredibly sheer duochrome that resembles MAC's Blue Brown pigment or Club eyeshadow. Sometimes it looks brown, red, blue, or even green:

Most of the time, on me at least, it looks like a very sheer red with blue shimmers. Sounds cool, right?

Well, I couldn't figure out how to wear it. And I don't mean I couldn't figure out color combinations to pair with it—I really didn't understand the shadow at all. It was just so sheer, and whenever I paired it with a shadow in the crease, I felt all that was visible was the crease color.

The first time I wore Glass Bull, I paired it with a berry in the crease:

Overall, I think this made a generally pretty look, especially in photographs, but in person, all I could really see was the crease shade.

I then wore it over a taupe shadow, thinking maybe it would work best as a shadow topper:

I was really disappointed in how this look turned out. I don't think there is necessarily anything all that wrong about it, but it just wasn't what I wanted out of the shadow/look. 

I was about ready to declutter Glass Bull from my collection this week when I decided to wear it on its own. See, it occurred to me the last time I wore this shadow that maybe the entire point of it was to give a similar effect to eye gloss. If you don't know what eye gloss is, it's exactly what it sounds like: gloss for your eyes. It's something that is featured most often in editorial looks as the practicality of it really doesn't work for an everyday basis or even for several hours over the course of the day. 

It's a style that Glossier features prominently in their advertising: 

And it gives a really natural but "effortlessly gorgeous" look. 

So I tried Glass Bull like that this weekend:

And I have to say that now I am a Glass Bull believer. I get the hype, and it has rapidly shot high on my list of favorite single shadows. (In fact, I think I may need to update my post on my most interesting/unique single shadows to include this one.)

Many years ago, when I first moved to New York City, I worked in a prominent New York City cultural institution, and it was an incredibly conservative work environment. Almost exclusively for over a year, I only wore powder foundation, mascara, and NARS Exhibit A blush. One day, I wore a light champagne shadow and a thin line of eyeliner and so many people approached me about "all the makeup" I was wearing. They didn't realize I had been wearing mascara and blush the entire time, but they noticed when I added a little bit of shadow and liner. After I left that job and went into graduate school, I went pretty wild on my makeup looks and never really looked back. I resented that work environment for making me tone down such a huge part of myself and my creativity, and I wanted to explore it as far as I could. 

With that said, I have often felt like I look the "best" with a more natural look. I also think I look better in neutrals than I do in color. However, makeup for me has never been about looking "better." I know that is what it's about for many women, and I don't place judgement on that. I think it's fantastic that makeup can make women feel better about themselves. But for me personally, makeup has been a creative outlet rather than a means to make myself look the "best" I can. 

Which brings me back to Glass Bull. As you can see from the photos, I just applied Glass Bull all over my lid and into the crease and added some Wet N Wild Brûlée onto the brow bone. I chose not to apply any eyeliner (on the top or bottom lids) and also did not apply a shadow in the inner corner. And I loved the look. So much so that I wore it the next day as well, which, as I said at the top of this post, has not happened in more than a year. I paired this look with a soft pink blush both days and with Dose of Colors Stone one day and Maybelline Touch of Spice the next. 

Now, obviously, you can wear this shadow (or any shadow) however you want. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to wear anything. It is my opinion that the intent behind this shadow is to wear it similar to an eye gloss or Glossier ad. And that is certainly my preferred way to wear it. Last week, when I was struggling to figure out a way to wear Glass Bull, I Googled "Glass Bull looks," and the only look that really came up was my own. I wasn't sure if there were other people out there struggling with how to wear Glass Bull, so I thought I would offer up my preferred way. 

Colourpop has another shadow that is very similar to Glass Bull (except that it leans green instead of blue) called Tea Garden that I also own. (I bought both shadows at the same time but have not yet used Tea Garden since I could never quite figure out how to wear Glass Bull.) Because of how much I am loving this minimal look with Glass Bull, I have to admit that I am really excited to try Tea Garden now. 

As a final note to this post, I feel it is worth mentioning that I have a friend who really loves to wear eye gloss. I texted her yesterday to tell her about Glass Bull as I thought it was really the perfect shadow for her. I showed her pictures of my look and she said she was really interested in trying it. She also laughed and said that it's funny that what I consider to be my "natural" look is what she considers to be her "going out" look. And I really loved that she said that. Makeup is so personal and is a great tool to use as an expression of oneself, and it was nice to see that the shadow that I was excited to use for a toned-down natural look would also be exciting for someone to use to glam up their look for a night out. It was a nice reminder about how makeup really boils down to one's personal preferences.